In late August, more than 1,700 graduates of Newport News Public Schools will begin the next phase of their life journey prepared and confident. Under the guidance of our great teachers, our professional staff and the dedicated leadership of the school board, our graduates have exceeded state academic requirements and developed the skills necessary to be college, career and citizen-ready.
Sixty-seven percent of our graduates will attend a two-year or four-year college or university. Twenty-five percent will enter the workforce or pursue career preparatory programs. And 8 percent will serve our country in the military. I am proud of our graduates’ accomplishments and achievements. Almost half of the class graduated with honors by maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Forty-nine percent took additional coursework in math, science, social studies and world languages to earn an Advanced Studies Diploma.
The Class of 2019 is well prepared for future success. Eighty percent of our graduates were enrolled in rigorous coursework to prepare them for the demands of college and careers. This coursework included Advanced Placement (AP), dual enrollment, honors and International Baccalaureate classes. In fact, our graduates took 3,704 Advanced Placement courses, preparing them for success in college and beyond. Recognizing the benefits of AP coursework, we encourage all students to prepare for and take at least one AP class. Students with qualifying scores on AP exams may be eligible for college credit.
Eighty-seven graduates were enrolled in our Early College program at Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC). Early College students may earn up to 19 semester hours of college credit prior to their high school graduation. During their senior year, students complete their high school coursework during the first semester and attend TNCC during the second semester. This year’s Early College graduates earned 1,584 college credit hours.
Our graduates also earned 2,610 industry and professional certifications, giving them marketable job skills. Our high school students have access to more than 70 career and technical education courses in high-demand professions including technology; health sciences; business management; marketing; aviation; and law, public safety, corrections and security. These courses are designed around industry standards for high-wage, skilled careers. In the current economy, certifications are an increasingly important tool for improved marketability and career opportunities.
Youth development is an integral part of the culture in Newport News Public Schools. Students hone their leadership skills through participation in clubs and activities, empowerment conferences and service learning. Seventy-eight percent of the Class of 2019 volunteered in our community to support a variety of local organizations and agencies.
The knowledge and skills that our graduates have embraced will give them a strong foundation. We are extremely proud that Newport News Public Schools has opened the door for thousands of students; now I encourage the members of the Class of 2019 to move forward and step confidently into their future.